Postcards from the Edge
One day in June of 2001, I was putting the children to sleep after dinner and my husband was in bed. We heard noise, and then there was a knock. I opened the door, and there were two of them. They asked me why I hadn't opened the door the first time. One of them stayed in the living room and the other went to find my husband in the bedroom. They started beating him. When they got to the living room, they said that they heard we had a lot of money. My husband asked them if we looked like people who have money. They asked my husband to choose—they would either kill him or rape me. My husband replied by saying, "I do want to watch how you are going to rape my wife; kill me." Since my husband was being defiant, they stripped him naked, put him in a big bag, and started beating him. They asked me to lie on the floor, and I refused. They pushed me in the mouth with their guns, and one of my teeth came out. They said they were going to show us where we were going to die. My husband asked to put some clothes on. We went out with them. The children stayed and were untouched.
On route, we ran into some villagers who were looking for a place to hide. There was much chaos, which made it possible for us to escape. We arrived at a house and explained what happened, and they gave us a place to stay. Our children were brought to the parish, but our house was completely destroyed. While we were staying with the family that had welcomed us, we went to fetch firewood. Three of us broke off from the group to find more wood. I heard voices of men speaking in Kinyarwanda. They came to me and asked that I put down the wood. The other two women were also taken by the military; I heard them cry from a distance. They lay me down on the grass and opened my legs while the others were pointing their guns at me. I closed my eyes. I have no idea how many raped me because I saw nothing. When they'd left, I got up and started walking slowly to join the other women I was with. When I got to the house, I explained what had happened. My husband arrived in the evening. I told him what had happened. He told me that it was my fault because I had gone so deep into the woods. The three of us were shunned by our husbands because the community told them that we were worthless and dirty. My husband left me and took two of the kids, leaving me the two youngest.
A month later I had a serious stomachache and started losing a lot of blood. I was transported to the hospital, where I learned I had a miscarriage.
If I could dream, it would be to reunite with my children and to have a stable life. I have decided never to get married because I know the suffering of married life. When I see the kindness of people, this gives me a reason to hope.